Recycling – reuse rather than disposal

GRI 301-3

For us, acting as an environ­men­tally respon­sible and resource-conserving company means reusing materials whenever possible – either for the same purpose or for a whole new area of use. Our guiding principle is: “Add value to the packaging through innovative design.”

Beyond this, in 2017 we began producing all Non Food cardboard and carton packaging from FSC®-certified material. To be able to do this, we are inten­si­fying our cooper­ation with strategic packaging suppliers who have FSC® certi­fi­cation and procure appro­priate materials for the packaging they manufacture. We will gradually extend this approach to all relevant sourcing countries.

Coffee capsule recycling: from capsules to dishwashing brush

Coffee packaging must fulfil the require­ments of food legis­lation and, of course, do an excellent job preserving the flavour. This means that they are subject to high require­ments, and there is less leeway for devel­oping new, eco-friendlier packaging than with many other foods. Coffee capsule systems in particular are repeatedly criti­cised for the high volume of waste in relation to their content, but at the same time they are an important offer for our customers.

Which is why in 2016 and 2017, we teamed up with the Öko-Institut e.V. for a compre­hensive accounting and analysis to determine the environ­mental footprint of the Cafissimo coffee capsule system. We expect prelim­inary results in 2018. 

We have already managed to gradually improve the capsules used for our Cafissimo coffee capsule system in such a way that all capsules are now recyclable. We did this by reducing the aluminium content in the packaging and switching to recyclable foil and interior paints in accor­dance with the dual systems.  So our customers can now dispose of the used capsules in Germany via the Yellow Bags provided to house­holds for recycling. In 2017, we intro­duced a take-back system for our Cafissimo coffee capsules at our Austrian shops. In early 2017, we also added recycled plastic household products such as dishwashing brushes to our range. They are made of the very material that is obtained by recycling our Cafissimo capsules. The recycling and re-using of materials (‘mass balance’) is clearly visible and traceable for the customer on the packaging. By showing the connection with the capsules’ recycla­bility, we seek to increase our customers’ awareness of closed-loop approaches.

Textiles recycling: the FairW­ertung network

Under the heading GUT GEMACHT - WEITER GEDACHT, we advocate sustainable consumption and give our customers tips on care, repair or upcycling of our products. We point to recycling possi­bil­ities where shoe or clothes disposal is unavoidable. For the sustainable delivery and reuse of textiles, we have therefore cooperated with the umbrella associ­ation FairW­ertung e. V., a feder­ation of non-profit organi­za­tions for the collection of clothing based on ecological and social criteria, since 2017. We recommend that our customers collect and deliver old clothing only to organi­za­tions that collect according to FairW­ertung standards: The sorted items of clothing are given to second-hand clothes stores at fair prices. Surpluses are sold to textile sorting companies, where they are sorted for inter­na­tional second-hand markets. Textiles that are no longer fit for this purpose are recycled into cleaning rags or raw materials. FairW­ertung organ­i­sa­tions are nonprofit and support social projects with their sales proceeds.

In 2017, we further expanded our cooper­ation with FairW­ertung e. V. and imple­mented various joint measures to raise consumer awareness of the reuse and recycling of discarded garments. These measures include the release of a film on what to do with used textiles.